Serge Fiori of the band Harmonium. On Feb. 24, 1977, one of Quebec’s most influential bands, Harmonium, began a 10-concert sold-out run at the Cinema Outremont, led by charismatic singer-songwriter Serge Fiori.
Jean Pierre Rivest / Montreal Gazette
On this night in 1977, one of Quebec’s most influential bands, Harmonium, began a 10-concert sold-out run at the Cinema Outremont, led by charismatic singer-songwriter Serge Fiori. The band — bassist Louis Valois, keyboardist Serge Locat, singer Monique Fauteux, flute and saxophone player Libert Subirana, drummer Dennis Farmer and guitarist Robert Stanley — played in support of its best-selling double album L’Heptade.Montreal Gazette photographer Jean Pierre Rivest captured the excitement of opening night in this image. Fiori, “dressed in white racing car overalls, his long hair flowing with the rhythms, cut a somewhat Svengali-like figure,” rock critic Juan Rodriguez wrote.Rodriguez praised the expanded version of Harmonium, which had grown from a trio to a septet whose music gave “some dramatic punch to Fiori’s sensitive, high-pitched pensées,” Rodriguez wrote.All in all, the concert series was “the most important happening right now on the local rock scene,” Rodriguez wrote in a second article a couple of days later.L’Heptade is often considered the high point of Harmonium’s career. The two-disc release took four months to record and benefited from the input of conductor-composer Neil Chotem, who contributed the lush classical motifs to the release.Harmonium’s progressive rock sound was not just successful in Quebec. In 1977, music writer Bob Mersereau named all three of Harmonium’s studio albums among the 100 greatest Canadian albums of all time. After not performing publicly for almost three decades, Serge Fiori released a critically acclaimed self-titled solo album in 2014.
The full-length photo.